An awkward encounter lies ahead tomorrow with a trip to bottom side Birmingham City on the cards. If we play well we will probably take the points, but with Steve Cotterill fighting for his job and the players sure to be fired up with a horrible run needing to come to an end. We have to be on the ball and take advantage of the nerves and confidence, letting them get ahead would be a nightmare. We have to make changes in my eyes, some need a rest.
GK – Felix Wiedwald – An obvious choice now. Did well the other night but didn’t have much to do. His ability to spring the counter attack with precision kicking and throwing could be crucial with Birmingham likely to throw bodies forward in search of a goal.
RB – Vurnon Anita – Luke Ayling was the one to make the point about Garry Monk not using the squad last season, saying it cost us in the end and he was right. Ayling has played in every game this season, he needs a rest. Anita more than capable of replacing him.
CB – Pontus Jansson – Jansson and Cooper will almost certainly keep their places tomorrow unless any late issues enforce a change.
CB – Liam Cooper – His form has improved drastically since the last international break and he will know a Scotland call-up is on the cards, as well as a potential debut if he keeps this up.
LB – Gaetano Berardi – Has played significantly less football than the other players at the back and he still looks fresh. I would like to see him sit in tomorrow and make sure Birmingham don’t have gaps to exploit because I believe the forward players are more than capable of doing the job.
CM – Ronaldo Vieira – If he is fully fit he has to play but after that tackle on him at Burton I wouldn’t be shocked to see him rested. Is playing very well but has a lot of pressure on him in the middle. Ended up playing the pass of the game at Burton.
CM – Kalvin Phillips – I felt like we missed Phillips the other night, Eunan O’Kane didn’t do enough in the game. Phillips gets himself forward and makes opposition think, O’Kane and Vieira aren’t that type of player. An appearance off the bench at St. Andrews last season helped swing the game back in our favour.
RW – Gjanni Alioski – The winger hasn’t been as influential in the last few games as the ones beforehand but he provides an outlet when we are under pressure, works extremely hard and is capable of opening up the game.
CAM – Samu Saiz – Good job he’s back because we have missed him. Pablo Hernandez and some magic have bailed us out but the ball retention without Saiz is significantly lower. Could be a very open game and Saiz is the man to exploit that.
LW – Pablo Hernandez – In my opinion he is in the best form since late last year, just before Christmas. Weight of expectation lifted by the summer signings of Alioski and Saiz, as well as form of Kemar Roofe.
ST – Kemar Roofe – In his best form since arriving at the football club and confidence is running through him. When he gets a chance he looks like scoring, but we have to give him the service. Didn’t have a sniff for the two games at Elland Road before scoring the winner at Burton.